“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
~ Martin Buber
I’m not sure when I started feeling drawn to Sri Lanka and I’ll admit that it wasn’t on my list of places to visit while I can walk. It turned out to be one of those hidden gems of a destination that gives back so much more than one imagines, especially when explored with an open mind and grateful soul. My journey through Sri Lanka brought me to a place of intense inspiration and spiritual alignment. And if like me, you’re a child of the sea, a fan of majestic elephants, an explorer on the soul’s path, a lover of lush mountains and poetic sunsets, you would love love love Sri Lanka too.
I have rarely experienced so many soulful moments in one short trip as I have on this one. It’s easy to see why this magical place gave us the English word “serendipity”, which stems from the island’s ancient name Serendip – and isn’t being lucky the same as being blessed when one’s self and soul are aligned with the Universe?
There are so many spiritually nourishing places and things to do in Sri Lanka, from the grand Esala Perahera (procession) in the sacred city of Kandy to the wide array of meditation and yoga retreats. I don’t think one needs to do any of these things, though, to have a soulful experience here. I was moved just by the simplest things.
Here are my top 5 soul-stirring Sri Lanka moments:
- Watching the procession of women, men and children gently place fragrant lotus offerings at the feet of ancient Buddha statues at the Gal Vihara (rock monastery). It’s said that the standing image has a sorrowful expression and an unusual para dukkha dukkhitha mudra or “sorrow for the sorrow of others”. These magnificent, larger than life statues have been receiving human woes and wishes for over 830 years. In the same area, there are many amazing artifacts to ponder, like the headless Buddha statue at the Lankatilaka Image House that took my breath away.
2. Coming up close and personal with wild elephants at the Minneriya National Park near Polonnaruwa. The park is located on an elephant corridor and since I was there in August, I got to witness the gathering of hundreds of elephants, probably the largest meeting of Asian elephants in the world. I was enthralled by them. There was something peaceful, almost meditative about watching them under that crisp blue sky. The elephants would twist and pull at the grass with their trunks until they get a hearty bunch, thump it on the ground to remove the soil then lift it to their mouths and chew. Repeat.
- Getting drenched in sunsets and sunrises of the most succulent colours. I was lucky enough to witness a stunning sunset photoshoot of a couple at the Galle fort. It was such a beautiful moment to witness – the perfect sky and perfect sea, as if all of nature conspired to become the perfect backdrop for their love.
4. Blackening my feet from long walks along the mineral-rich beaches of Trincomalee; it has even been called a beach of black diamonds.
- Savouring gorgeous Sri Lankan cuisine, from cooling down with roadside King coconut juice and buffalo curd, to a curry rice spread fit for a queen!
And of course the smiling faces! There’s so much more and I’ve promised myself to return in the near future. Have you been to Sri Lanka or are you thinking about it? I’d love to hear your stories so do leave comments! ❤